When I was pregnant with my first, I knew I wanted a natural childbirth. Little did I know when I preparing for labor and delivery — reading, taking childbirth classes, meditating — that I wouldn’t have had time for an epidural had I wanted one. I arrived to the hospital trying not to give birth on the sidewalk — and delivered within 30 minutes of my arrival. I learned that you can’t really prepare for anything fully — but I was glad I’d read as much as I had about natural childbirth. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth was the best book on that front and any mom-to-be should read it regardless of the type of delivery they’re hoping for as it’s so helpful to read other experiences to know that they got through it and you can, too.
Now that I’m on pregnancy three and I’ve memorized What to Expect When You’re Expecting, I was looking forward to reading Pop: 50 Amazing Secrets to a Successful Labor & Delivery or C-Section by Pamela Peery. It’s a super-quick read that you can pick up and go back to at your leisure. It’s full of tips from real moms on labor and delivery, pain relief and helpful anecdotes on what to bring to the hospital. It’s fun to hear from moms who have been there and done that, and while I didn’t read anything ground-breaking as a third-timer, first-time moms would definitely find useful tips they could store away to pull from when they’re in labor. It might also help you clarify what you’d want in a birth plan as moms share tidbits you might not even think about. Plus, the moms shared what they might have done slightly differently in the whole process, which is always helpful for the planning mom.
It also made me think about what secret I would share about childbirth and labor to help other women. I think it would be 1) to believe in yourself and 2) do whatever it takes to help you feel better in the moment. With my first, I couldn’t fathom sitting down in the car to get to the hospital — all I wanted was to stand or pace, so sitting in the car for 15 minutes was torture. With my second, I labored sitting in bed — and couldn’t fathom why women would want to walk around during labor. Just know that your body will help you do what it needs to do. It knows.
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What secret would you share about labor and delivery? —Erin